The Step Pyramid Complex

King Djoser:
He was the 2nd king of the 3rd dynasty and the owner of the unique Step Pyramid Complex at Saqqara.
Imhotep (who comes in peace)
He was the chief Architect of King Djeser and Perhaps the first vizier in Dynastic Egypt. He was also an Astronomer and a physician. The Greeks identified him with their god of medicine. It was probably for his great learning that he was most respected and deified some two thousand years after his death, which is a great rarity for non-royal individuals in Ancient Egypt. He became worshipped as a god of wisdom, writing and medicine, and was therefore linked with the cults of Thoth and Ptah.
The Step Pyramid Complex: 
The Step Pyramid complex is considered to be the “first monument in the history of Egyptian Civilization to be built completely out of stone.

  1. Enclosure Wall:
    The complex was surrounded by a limestone enclosure wall the height of which is more than 10.5m. This enclosure wall is all of solid masonry, except the northern part, which is divided internally into small rooms. These rooms were proved to be empty by the time of discovery. Beneath this part of the enclosure wall, a row of rooms and magazines was found, from which many objects were recorded.
    There are 15 large projecting bastions are distributed along the four sides of the enclosure wall at irregular distances. 14 out of them are dummy gates decorated with representations in relief of false doors, and only one, situated in the southeast side of the enclosure wall, provides the only entrance to the complex.
    2. The Entrance:
    The entrance leads to a narrow passage. At the end of the first part of the passage, there is a representation of double door (swing open). Then the passage continues for a short distance and terminates with a single door.
    3. Colonnade:
    The passage leads to a colonnade with 28 engaged ribbed columns on either side. The alcoves between the columns were probably used for containing statues of the King. These statues were either showing him wearing the Red crown on one side and the White crown on the other or showing him with the deity of one of the Nomes of Upper and Lowe Egypt (notice that: the total number of alcoves is 42 which correspond to the number of Nomes of ancient Egypt.
    4. Transverse Hall:
    The colonnade leads to a small transverse hall. The exact function of this hall is unknown. It’s supported by 8 ribbed columns joined in pairs by cross-walls.
    The west wall of the transverse hall has an open door giving access to a large open court.
    5. Palace:
    A building to the south of the colonnade; where royal statues were possibly placed.
    6. Store Rooms and Magazines:
    A number of storerooms and magazines were built between the colonnade and Heb-sed court. Theses rooms were used for storing the equipment needed for performing funeral services and storing offerings.
    7. Royal Pavilion:
    Its function is uncertain. Many scholars were suggested that this place was probably prepared for the king to rest and change his costumes during the different episodes of the Heb-Sed festival.
    The royal pavilion lies in the main court, to the west of the Heb-Sed court. It leads to an entrance hall which is also leads to the 3 inner courts surrounded by side rooms and chambers.
    8. The Heb-Sed Court:
    It’s a rectangular court, situated to the east side of the complex. The court and its surrounding buildings were designed to provide the King with the setting necessary for repeating in his afterlife his jubilee ceremony, known as Heb-Sed.
    The court has 13 dummy chapels on its west side, and 14 dummy chapels on the east side. 12 out of 13 chapels on the west side have curved roofs and 3 engaged columns.
    In the middle of the lower part of each chapel there is a recess intended to receive a statuette.
    9. The House of the North and the House of the South:
    In the north-east of the complex, there are 2 structures that were first explained as 2 tombs of the 2 daughters of Djoser. This suggestion was rejected due to the absence of any funerary elements in the 2 buildings. These 2 buildings were replicas of the shrines of the Upper and Lower Egyptian crowns (Nekhbet and Wagjet).
    10. The Serdab:
    It’s a small room attached to the lowest step of the pyramid inside which a life size limestone statue of Djoser.
    It has 2 round halls in the wall to enable the statue of the king to look outside and communicate with the outer world or to enable him to smell the smell of incense.
    11. The Mortuary Temple:
    The temple situated to the north of the pyramid. It originally consisted of a large rectangular building attached to the lowest step of the pyramid. It was entered through a doorway, this doorway leads to a passage with numerous turns terminating in two open courts. Each court had a small room in its western side with a stone basin and two pairs of engaged columns. The sanctuary was built at the northern end of the temple
    The step Pyramid: 
    i. The Superstructure:
    It was built of local stone and covered with fine Tura limestone. Its preseny height is 60m.
    The First Extension:
    It was made by adding 14 feet to all four sides and a second facing of fine Tura limestone was added.
    The Second Extension:
    It was made by adding 9.5 feet to all sides. Then the tomb was transferred into a four step pyramid.
    A Further Extension:
    It was made by adding 9.5 feet to the north and west sides only.
    The Final Extension:
    It was then completing the pyramid into six steps.
    ii. The Substructure and its development:
    It consists of a deep shaft giving access to a maze of corridors and rooms forming a hypogeum. From the mouth of the shaft a tunnel was cut, and was driven northwards from the shaft.
    The tunnel was continued in the form of an open trench.
    The burial chamber is situated at the bottom of the shaft. The burial chamber has no doors and the only access to it is through a hole cut in the northern side of its roof.

 

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